Diego Godin says Atletico Madrid have no 'magic formula' to stop Lionel Messi, but have a plan
Arda Turan will also face his former club for the first time after being ineligible to play last time out
Atletico Madrid face FC Barcelona on Saturday’s titanic clash at the top of the table. Both clubs are level on points with Barcelona having a game in hand. Altetico’s success has been largely down to a strong defence with the Los Colchoneros only conceding eight goals this season.
But even their defensive rock Diego Godin admits that Messi is a different equation altogether. He has stated that there is no ‘magic formula’ to stopping the 28-year-old Ballon d'Or winner.
The Argentine forward has 20 goals in 19 games for the Catalans this season, his most recent being the winner against Malaga in their 2-1 win last weekend. Messi also scored the decider against the Red and Whites when they met in La Liga during the first half of the season at the Vicente Calderón. Barca came away with a 2-1 win on that occasion.
Godin was interviewed by Soloporteros where he said the only way to stop players like Messi is to defend together as a team.”There is no magic formula for stopping Messi,” he stated. “Just to work well as a team and get a lot of help from teammates because it is difficult to stop players with so much individual quality.
“We will try and be very focused as a team.”
Arda Turan to face old teammates for the first time
Saturday’s encounter also sees Arda Turan facing his former club after his €41 million move to the Camp Nou last summer. He only became eligible to play for Barcelona after their transfer ban was lifted this month.
The Turkish international may prove be a crucial player in this important clash with his former club. Turan won the league with Atletico in the 2013/14 season on the final matchday, helping them secure the point they needed against his current employers. And now he has the chance to help Barcelona’s title push by getting one over his former club.
The match will also see Godin, arguably the best defender in the league, against the league’s top scorer and national team mate Luis Suarez. The Bacrelona forward has been in scintillating form this season, topping the scoring charts with 18 goals in La Liga.
But there is also the threat of Neymar, he and his teammates will have to deal with. The Brazilian is starting to be considered in the same league as Messi and Cristriano Ronaldo after finishing third in the Ballon d'Or polls. The match is not a title decider but a definite indicator as to who currently holds the edge to go all the way.